The state Department of Ecology has sent out postcards to update people near an underground fire at the Pasco Sanitary Landfill.
The postcard was sent Monday to residents, schools, community leaders, businesses, elected officials and other interested parties.
It tells them that "immediate actions" were taken to evaluate and suppress the fire, which was confirmed Dec. 3.
The 250-acre landfill, just east of city limits at Dietrich Road and Commercial Avenue, is a federal Superfund site.
Contractors have placed soil on areas where the ground had settled and cracks and smoke appeared, the notice said. They also are monitoring the area and more work is planned after they collect more information.
No elevated temperatures were found on the surface where the soil was placed, and no landfill gas was detected at the surface or in breathing zones, the postcard said.
There is no immediate threat to people in the area based on "current knowledge," the postcard said.
Ecology plans to send another notice with more information by the end of January, or sooner if an incident happens before then, said Ecology spokeswoman Brook Beeler.
The notices, in English and Spanish, were sent to about 5,000 people, said Ecology spokeswoman Joye Redfield-Wilder.
"We don't think it's anything that has a big impact," Redfield-Wilder said. "Our cleanup laws are very inclusive and require this kind of communication by mail."
Ecology has no way of knowing how long the fire will burn, Redfield-Wilder said.
The fire is burning in an area where bales of household and other municipal waste and construction debris were buried until 1989. But it is adjacent to an area of greater concern, where an estimated 35,000 drums of solvent and paint sludges, cleaners and other waste were buried.
The area that is burning appears to be small, measuring about 25 feet in diameter, according to the state. Environmental cleanup workers noticed the ground had sunk almost two feet there and notified the state. Wisps of smoke also were seen coming from cracks in the soil.
The landfill also has other municipal and industrial waste areas. In addition to the 35,000 drums, the waste includes about 11,000 tons of sludge from paper manufacturing and residues from the disposal of 3 million gallons of plywood resin waste, lime sludge and bulk liquid waste.
Almost 5,000 drums of herbicide manufacturing waste were removed in 2002. Last summer the major work was finished on a new cover to prevent water from infiltrating the contaminated soil left from the drums.
The landfill has contaminated a plume of groundwater more than two miles long. The cigar-shaped plume stretches from the landfill past A Street toward the Columbia River. Treatment systems are being used to reduce the level of contamination in the groundwater.
w Geoff Folsom: 509-582-1543; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @GeoffFolsom